ORLANDO — Country music star Trace Adkins announced Thursday that he has canceled a planned concert at SeaWorld Orlando, joining a long list of musical acts who have backed out of performances at the marine park amid controversy generated by the documentary Blackfish.
"Trace prefers that the focus of his performances be on music, not on controversy. Therefore, he has decided not to proceed with this show in the midst of this debate," a spokeswoman for Adkins said.
Adkins is at least the ninth performer to bail on plans to perform at SeaWorld's annual "Bands, Brew & BBQ" event, a six-week concert series that begins next month that SeaWorld uses to help drive attendance during the typically slow midwinter months. The Barenaked Ladies, Willie Nelson, Cheap Trick and Trisha Yearwood are among the other acts who have canceled.
Most of those who have canceled have cited either Blackfish, which is sharply critical of SeaWorld's treatment of captive killer whales, or pressure from activists and fans who have seen the film.
The furor became a public relations embarrassment for SeaWorld, prompting the company last month to pay for full-page ads in newspapers around the country responding to allegations raised in Blackfish.
Adkins was not among the performers listed when SeaWorld announced its original lineup. But details of his scheduled March 2 appearance at SeaWorld Orlando became public via automated concert-planning websites, sparking protests from anticaptivity activists.